Insulation a attic with little to no access.

Discussion in 'Insulation and Radiant Barriers' started by HalfwayUpTheHill, Jun 11, 2019.

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  1. Jun 11, 2019 #1

    HalfwayUpTheHill

    HalfwayUpTheHill

    HalfwayUpTheHill

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    I bought this home almost two years ago. And this year I suddenly had an influx of heat in my 2nd story bathroom. Lots of warm air was being dumped into the room from behind one of my bathroom cabinets.

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    The wall behind the cabinet has plumbing of course, but apparently at some point the loose insulation on this wall fell. I put a camera and light inside, and this revealed that the enclosed attic above the dining room has no insulation.

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    I had done a thermal survey of the house when it was cold, but not yet when it was hot.
    The dining room was one area which was hot in the summer, but I had chocked that up to the three western facing windows here. And last year I had put in 60% sun shades on the outside.

    Now that I discovered the issue upstairs, I can see that the dining ceiling isn't doing any good.

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    The dining room is an outcropping on the house. It effectively has its own roof. The construction is typical of the area, with composite shingles over plywood. The outside walls in the attic also appear to have no insulation, but the external construction is 4" thick limestone masonry.

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    The upstairs bathroom was redone at some point in the past. And they moved at least one of the sinks.
    In doing that remodel, they tore a sizable hole in the drywall, and covered it up with the cabinet (which had a slightly smaller hole).

    The hole is big enough to put a GoPro on a selfie stick to get these shots.

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    The insulation behind this wall is loose, and has nothing to prevent it from falling. So it was inevitable that this would have occured.

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    What I need help with is advise on the best way to insulate this near inaccessible attic.

    Last year I has blown in insulation added to the entire accessible attic spaces of the home. It seems possible that they could remove the loose bathroom cabinet, and gain enough access on the 2nd story to blow in insulation into this space. But coverage without better access seems like it might be spotty, or clog the vents.

    Any other ideas?
     
  2. Jun 11, 2019 #2

    Sparky617

    Sparky617

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    For the attic blown-in, cellulose or fiberglass would be a good option. You don't need a large access hole to do it. For the walls, what is the exterior covered with? If siding, your best bet to blow insulation in from the outside. This is a professional job. They have the tools and the know-how to do it quickly without tearing up your house. With vinyl or aluminum siding they unsnap a section to expose the sheathing and drill a 2" or so size hole in the sheathing at the top and bottom of each stud bay and blow in cellulose (ground up newspapers treated to prevent pests from nesting in it) I think they can also do it with spray foam. For wood siding, they pretty much do a use a hole saw and cut through the siding and then patch and paint to match.
     
  3. Jun 11, 2019 #3

    HalfwayUpTheHill

    HalfwayUpTheHill

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    I have a professional coming to give me a quote this week. I just like to have as much input as possible on my options.

    The outside wall is 4" limestone masonry, so no outside access. At this point I think removing some drywall above the dining room is my best bet. I don't want them to just blow in insulation without being able to do a complete job including installing the eave vent ducts. And this small attic completely lacks a roof vent. I also want them to install a backer onto the dining room wall to hold in the insulation.
     
  4. Jun 11, 2019 #4

    Sparky617

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    With a masonry exterior, you can do blown insulation from the inside of the walls. Same process, it is just a little less messy to do it from outside.
     
  5. Jun 11, 2019 #5

    nealtw

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    This looks like the air chutes could be added from the outside and perhaps loose fill could be added from a vent hole near the peak.
     
  6. Jun 11, 2019 #6

    HalfwayUpTheHill

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    @nealtw That is a good idea, I will discuss it with my pro.
     
  7. Jun 11, 2019 #7

    Sparky617

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    How old is your house? I would have thought in Austin Texas this would have never passed inspection with little or no insulation.
     
  8. Jun 11, 2019 #8

    HalfwayUpTheHill

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    1999. This issue should not have passed an inspection.

    One issue might be that apparently they only require three inspections in Hays County (Near, not in Austin): 1) A foundation inspection. 2) A framing inspection after plumbing and electrical 3)A final inspection after drywall is up.

    That means the builder can skip insulation on areas like this, and there is no real way the inspector can even see this closed space, unless they jammed a camera through the insulation behind the hole in the bathroom wall or used a thermal camera. Considering how spotty my attic insulation was before I added more, I expect the original insulation contractor was crap/cheap to begin with.
     
  9. Jun 12, 2019 #9

    Steve123

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    No access to attic is not a good situation. An attic hatch is not major surgery. Just find a good place to put it. A lot of times they put it in a closet because its hidden there. Trouble is, you probably have to empty your closet before getting up there. An upper shelf in the closet can be a real pain to get over/around. Maybe you can find a better spot. For various reasons, I have found it necessary to get in my attic at least a dozen times since I bought my place twenty years ago.
     
  10. Jun 13, 2019 #10

    HalfwayUpTheHill

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    This is a isolated attic, only above the dining room, besides a small triangle at the back of the bathroom wall, there is no access.
    I think I am going to have to cut drywall from the dining room ceiling, as I want them to have full access to place a back on the bathroom wall, and properly insulate that. Because no amount of blown in insulation will fix that bathroom wall.

    I don't want an access door, so I will have them patch up the ceiling and blend the cutout once done. This is my only option to get it done right that I can think of, unless the attic vent they install ends up using a hole big enough for a man to fit through.
     
  11. Jun 13, 2019 #11

    HalfwayUpTheHill

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    So I guess I was blind, because I didn't walk out far enough to notice that the outside triangle wall was hardie board siding and not stone. My pro came over, and he says the best solution is to install an gable vent. One with a large enough cutout for a man to fit through. Then it is just a matter of putting up a barrier on the back of the bath, installing baffles, insulating, putting up radiant and then installing the vent.
     
    nealtw likes this.

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